Craft ACT launches call out for DESIGN Canberra 2018

The ACT’s fastest growing festival, DESIGN Canberra 2018 will celebrate the strong geometry present throughout our city and the ways it creates human, creative and global connections from Australia’s city of design.

Geometry is everywhere we look: inscribed on the earth, in our buildings and our city’s plan. Geometry contrasts with and responds to the surrounding landscape by creating borders and forming spaces. These spaces define Canberra. Triangles, concentric circles and arcs connect major avenues and underlie the city’s early planning.

‘We are calling for design projects to feature during the festival that reference or respond to geometry, Canberra’s distinctive form. While geometry is etched in the history of our city, it also establishes a blueprint for the shape of things to come and is rich with possibilities,’ Rachael Coghlan, CEO and Artistic Director of Craft ACT, presenter of DESIGN Canberra.

As well as celebrating our distinct geometric structure and visual language, this year DESIGN Canberra will emphasise the ephemeral nature of a festival. ‘A design festival is by its nature an ephemeral intervention. Because of its temporary existence, we can widen boundaries, energise spaces and places, change perceptions, and look closely or with new eyes at our surroundings. The ephemeral unlocks novel opportunities for experimentation, transformation, problem solving and imaginative possibilities,’ said Coghlan.

Although details are being kept under wraps for now, DESIGN Canberra has invited a leading architect to design an ephemeral architecture installation at an iconic Canberra site. Following on from the success of Jodie Cunningham’s ‘We Dance Together’ in Civic Square for the 2017 festival, we will also be inviting designers to create graphic interventions in high profile locations throughout the city centre.

Organisers have heeded the call from DESIGN Canberra’s 2017 keynote speaker, New York Times design critic Alice Rawsthorn, to take seriously design’s responsibility as an agent for positive change in society. We hope to include in the 2018 program a public dialogue about the role and impact of design on the community, and how design can make life better.

‘DESIGN Canberra has resonated with Canberrans, the design sector and design lovers near and far because design is in Canberra’s DNA. From the time of Walter and Marion Griffin's visionary design a century ago, to iconic experimental architecture of the 1950s and 60s, through to contemporary and sustainable design developments today, Canberra has been — and always will be — a living design laboratory,’ said Coghlan.

2017 was an amazing year of growth, inspiration, excellence and engagement – a result of creative collaborations and strategic partnerships with Canberra’s craft and design sector and the broader community. Last year, over 94,000 people engaged with the festival’s curated program of exhibitions, talks, tours, collaborations, open homes and artist studios, activations and markets showcasing the best in design.

From 5-25 November 2018, DESIGN Canberra will transform the nation’s capital, hosting over 100 events. Now in its 5th year, DESIGN Canberra increases its reach and engagement each year, linking makers and designers with new audiences and forging unexpected collaborations and marketplace connections. DESIGN Canberra is the major outreach activity of Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre, a not-for-profit membership-based organisation which supports artists, craft practitioners, designers and makers at every stage of their careers.

For more information or to make a submission visit